Hi, I'm not sure how blogs work so didn't know the protocol on how to ask
design questions and opted to e-mail. Hope that's ok!
I have a house with living upstairs. We enter up the long stairway
into the living room that is open to the dining. I need to
redecorate and I love your style! Can you help? You can move anything
around, change the blinds, paint color, pictures etc. The paintings that I
have I would like to keep and the couches are new. The pictures
are sitting on top of the big mirror in the photo just for safe keeping.
I'm up for painting the fireplace, covering it up, adding molding - whatever
you say, I will do! :)
My sincere appreciation,
I love your "Whatever you say I will do!" attitude! I wish my husband had that attitude!
Let's start with this room above. You have issues with rhythm, balance and pattern.
1. Rhythm. Rhythm is one of the principles of design. In your room, you are lacking rhythm by alternation by having the bookcase and small cabinet to the right and left of the fireplace. You can get away with similar looks when you have some windows with draperies or other elements that can separate the eye from the hard piece, hard piece, hard piece. See this post where I discussed the principle. In that post the gal had lots of case pieces on the walls of her bedroom. Your example is less extreme, but sometimes an extreme example can help you to see what you are doing wrong. What would I do on that wall? I would cover the brick and build-in the whole wall. On your built-in wall- you could add the three pictures sitting on easels as part of your decor. I would scatter them, not line them up. The scale is a little small for over the sofa. Here are a few ideas:
(photo from houzz)
You could combine a painted brick or stone fireplace with stained wood built-ins.
(photo from the Yellow Cape Cod)
The most common look is covering it all in a painted white wood, which is always nice.
When the wall is a built-in, it is seen as one item, not three, therefore, the absence of rhythm issues. For a more in-depth description of rhythm, look at this post.
2. Balance. Your room is more heavily weighted on the left. I know you said you were going to keep your furniture- but I will give you a long term plan, because I think it is too large for the space, and too plain in style and color to really make the room sing. I would replace your sofa/love with two love seats, which will give you space to replace your chair with two chairs. Keep the scale smaller, and colors lighter. (unless you have a three year old...)
(Beckett Love seat by Bernhardt Interiors)
(Pierre chair by Room and Board)
Add a nice coffee table, centered with the room.
Now, the art above your love seat should balance the window with window treatments.
(art from Uttermost)
I would add drapes to your window. Floor to ceiling. (drapes from Pottery Barn)
3. Pattern. Your "all the same fabric everywhere" look falls a little flat. ;-) You will notice that already I have added some pattern. In addition to the throw pillows, there is pattern in the new chair selection, and also the window treatments. I would add one more big pattern to really tie the room together. Get a nice large area rug, probably 8 x 10, to finish off the space. This is your unifier. (rug from homedecorator.com)
Remember to have a lighting plan in your room as well as some plants. ;-)